Sony Xperia 1 review

GSMArena team, 08 June 2019.

Design

Sony Xperia 1 is a gorgeous device you can easily fall in love with the moment you see it. Sure, our black version is probably somewhat boring, but the purple, grey, or the dazzling white colors all look amazing.

Sony Xperia 1 review

The Xperia 1 has classic looks betting on a clean distraction-free design rather than flashy gradients, a fancy edged screen, or strangely shaped popups. And the stylish looks are strengthened by the dual-glass timeless build, which is still the most premium execution you can get today.

The 1 has a mostly flat Gorilla Glass 6 piece covering the one of a kind display, and another Gorilla Glass 6 with curved edges keeping the back both dazzling and shatter-proof. In-between the sheets of the world's toughest glass (yet!) is an aluminum frame, curved as well, and all glossy and dandy.

Sony Xperia 1 review

The entire usable area of the front is occupied by the new 6.5" 4K OLED screen - a panel you can only find in the Xperia 1. It has reasonable top and bottom bezels, but those are quite thin, and we could also say necessary, as they allow the perfect landing area for your thumbs while watching 21:9 content in landscape mode. The longer side bezels are impressively thin, and the 2.5D finish on the glass makes them look even thinner.

The top black strip contains the earpiece, which also doubles as a speaker. On its left Sony has placed all other essentials - the well-hidden tri-color (R,G,W) notification LED, a bunch of sensors, and the 8MP selfie camera.

Sony Xperia 1 review

Where screen glass ends, the metal frame begins, and the transition is quite seamless at that thanks to the small curves on both materials. If we didn't know better, we could have easily mistaken our black review unit for a unibody build.

The other Gorilla Glass 6 on the back is curved towards all of its sides. It's a rather subtle curve, but enough to make a slim phone feels even slimmer, but also to compromise the grip more than we'd have liked.

Sony Xperia 1 review

The back is the domain of the triple camera setup, humping 2mm on top of the black glass and enough to make the Xperia 1 wobble a bit. It's a trio of 12MP shooters - wide, tele, and ultra-wide - a first for Sony but already a pretty common combination among high-end smartphones. Outside the setup is the LED flash and the RGBC-IR sensor.

Sony Xperia 1 reviewXperia XZ3 • Xperia 1 • Xperia XZ2 Premium (left to right)

The aluminum frame is all glossy and slippery, a fingerprint and smudges magnet, and its beauty really comes at the price of compromised handling and regular cleaning. We do appreciate the perfect match in color and finish to the glass and metal though.

On this metal frame are a lot of the Xperia 1's important bits. The hybrid dual-SIM tray is at the top. The bottom has the USB-C port and the other speaker.

Sony Xperia 1 - Sony Xperia 1 review Sony Xperia 1 - Sony Xperia 1 review Sony Xperia 1 - Sony Xperia 1 review Sony Xperia 1 - Sony Xperia 1 review
Sony Xperia 1

The right side of the Xperia 1 has a lot to offer. There are three physical keys here - the volume rocker, the power button, and a two-step camera shutter. In-between the volume and power keys is a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, ideally matching your right thumb.

Sony Xperia 1 review

Update: We found out why the fingerprint sensor was behaving unsatisfactory. Тhe updated text follows bellow.

Unfortunately, the fingerprint scanning experience is a mixed bag. While the sensor is always-on and its accuracy - very good - it gets compromised over time. The reader sensitive area is really small and on top of that it accumulates smudges quite easy. This leads to less than ideal experience, which will only get worse unless you clean the sensor. It's not that big of a deal, but you have to clean the sensor occasionally to keep it work in your favor. The good news is - you can do that by just swiping your thumb over its surface. The bad news - you have to do that every day.

The Xperia 1 measures 167 x 72 x 8.2 mm, which is about as large as the Galaxy A80. Then Xperia 1 is 1cm taller than the Galaxy S10+ but 2mm narrower and equally thin. At 178g the Xperia 1 weighs just 3g more than the S10+ but about 40g less than the Galaxy A80.

Indeed, the Xperia 1 is one noticeably tall smartphone, but that's the price for having an exceptional cinematic screen. But the 1 is quite slim and not that wide, which makes it very easy to handle and perform day-to-day tasks. It also fits easily in pockets, so nobody should be really worried about this.

Sony Xperia 1 review

The phone is as slippery as it looks though, and a case is a must-have. If you want to keep its looks intact though, you should always handle it with care, and maybe the Gorilla Glass 6 and the water-resistance could give you just enough peace of mind.

Reader comments

  • Evva

Great phone, I have it, still worth it in 2021! Mostly because of its great chipset snapdragon 855. Boought my phone used recently. It was a bit too expensive after my opinion, when it first came in 2019. This phone can handle ALL games and a...

Am impressed after reading the the reviews i love it and i may live it

  • DG

Are hong kong versions are different form other versions?